This article is a historical study of calendars and preliminary and general inventories at the Public Archives of Canada (PAC) from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Using an organizing structure drawn from rhetorical genre studies, the authors examine the calendars and inventories across four dimensions (textual features, composing processes, reading practices, and social roles) to discover the ways in which these finding aids incorporated and expressed, both explicitly and implicitly, institutional, professional, and social values. The examination of the calendars and inventories suggests that they functioned as "forms of cultural knowledge" that shaped and were shaped by PAC's evolving understanding of what it meant to make its holdings accessible to the public and its sense of identity and purpose in relation to that public.

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